Youth hunter kills big 9-point buck in velvet

9-point buck
Dillon Harding killed this 9-point buck in full velvet on Aug. 8, 2020 in Aiken County, S.C.

9-point buck weighed 191 pounds

Dillon Harding, 8-years-old from West Columbia, S.C., killed his first buck on South Carolina’s Game Zones 3 & 4 youth day, Aug. 8, 2020. And what a fine buck it was. The 9-point buck weighed 191 pounds and was in full velvet.

The young sportsman was hunting with his dad in Aiken County, hoping to see one buck in particular that they’d been observing on their trail cameras over the summer. A small group of bachelor bucks was spending a lot of time around their favorite stand. And one deer stood out as the clear dominant buck. This is the buck young Dillon was after, and it showed up that afternoon.

“We were hunting on a 100-acre tract in Wagener (Aiken County). We’d been watching the buck on trail camera for about two months. He was definitely the dominant buck in the bachelor group,” said Dillon’s dad, Matthew Harding.

South Carolina holds three more youth-only days this season

Dillon shot the deer with a CVA Stalker .243. They took the buck to Johnson’s Deer Processing in Swansea, where it tipped the scales at 191 pounds. They aged the deer to be 4 1/2-years-old.

South Carolina holds three other youth-only hunting days during the 2020-21 deer hunting season. Game Zone 2 holds their youth day on Sept. 12. Game Zone 1 youth hunters get their shot on Sept. 26. Another statewide youth day takes place on Jan. 2, 2021.

Dillon and his dad kept tabs on the big buck throughout the summer on trail cameras.

Youth hunting days allow youth 17-years-old and younger to hunt on these days. On these days, the young hunters do not need a hunting license or tags. They may use guns, primitive weapons, or archery equipment. The law allows them to shoot only antlered deer on these days, and the bag limit is one deer.

South Carolina’s regular deer hunting season is now open for all ages in Game Zone 3 with any weapon. It is open in Game Zone 4 for archery only.

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Brian Cope
About Brian Cope 1651 Articles
Brian Cope is the editor of He has won numerous awards for his writing, photography, and videography. He is a retired Air Force combat communications technician, and has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina. You can reach him at

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